Preview: Wales v South Africa talking points

Wales conclude their autumn Under Armour Series by tackling South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday. Here, we look at some of the key talking points ahead of the game.

Wales are on a roll

If momentum counts in sport, then Wales currently have it by the bucketload. They are unbeaten since the midway point of last season's Six Nations Championship, reeling off a 13-year-best eight successive victories, with one more win ensuring their longest unbeaten run since 1999. They have also toppled South Africa in four of the countries' last five meetings and never before completed a four-from-four autumn Tests clean sweep. Warren Gatland's team could take some stopping this weekend.

South Africa are a totally different proposition to 12 months ago

Without putting too fine a point on it, the Springboks were a shambles this time last year. Their November European tour saw them smashed 38-3 by Ireland, and although they beat France by a point in a dreadful game, South Africa ended the trip by losing to Wales. It was to prove the last knockings for coach Allister Coetzee, but his successor Rassie Erasmus has made a huge impact just eight months into the job, with the Springboks beating New Zealand, England (twice), Australia, France and Scotland this year. Wales will beware a revived southern hemisphere giant.

Will Wales miss Leigh Halfpenny?

The goalkicking full-back misses South Africa's Principality Stadium visit after being concussed during Wales' 9-6 victory over Australia two weeks ago, when he was on the receiving end of a challenge by Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi that went unpunished. Halfpenny, who has amassed 713 points in 80 Tests for Wales, was uncharacteristically wayward off the tee earlier in that game, but he remains one of the world game's finest kickers. That important task now falls to fly-half Gareth Anscombe, with Liam Williams replacing Halfpenny in the number 15 shirt, and Anscombe has the temperament to handle it.

Wales are in rude health

Whatever happens on Saturday, Wales have moved into a strong position 10 months out from the World Cup in Japan. Not only have they been winning consistently, but squad depth is probably at its most impressive since Gatland took charge in 2008. Through summer Tests against South Africa and Argentina, and on into the autumn campaign, Gatland has given players like wing Josh Adams, scrum-half Tomos Williams, prop Dillon Lewis, lock Adam Beard and flanker Aaron Wainwright a chance, and they have prospered. Wales have largely gone under the radar this year, but that is exactly how they like it.

George North can send Springboks' victory hopes south

Wales wing North burst on to the international scene eight years ago this month, making his Test debut as an 18-year-old and scoring two tries against South Africa. He has now amassed 34 touchdowns for his country - only Shane Williams and Gareth Thomas are ahead of him - and he looks in prime form ahead of this weekend's autumn finale. The Springboks could not handle him in 2010 and, 77 Wales appearances later, it would be no surprise if he returned to haunt them.

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